24 Epiphanies

1

She buried her in their favorite park. It had rained the night before, leaving the soil damp and prime for the task she had set out to perform. Thus she toiled, her arms burning as she worked, the shovel tearing into the earth in a rhythmic manner under the heat of the mid-morning sun. When the deed had been done, she sat at the bench overlooking the lake, arms crossed over her chest as she sat in her self-imposed vigil.

It was not until the sun had begun to align at the horizon, beginning its descent to the ground that her mother appeared at her side. The wooden planks creaked slightly under the additional weight of the elder woman. In silence, they sat together.

Her mother's blonde locks were streams of gold, flowing gently down and resting across her shoulders. Even as she refused to meet her mother's eyes, she knew that the cerulean pools of light – of love – had sights set on her, and her alone. For that reason, Quinn chose to look anywhere else to avoid the conversation to come. It took hours and many deep breaths before she had formed the courage and the will to speak.

"I buried her under the shade of the cherry tree, where we used to take refuge and just escape the heat." The corners of her mother's mouth turned upwards.

"I remember that." She said softly. She seemed to be waiting for her daughter, testing the waters. But when she did not say another word, the mother was gentle. Fingers brushed through brunette strands, a hand ran across her offspring's cheekbones soothingly. "You were six years old, a wild, untamed thing, eagerly setting out to cause trouble." Clarke laughed quietly. "And that dog of ours was just as ready for the adventures that she would partake with you."

Her daughter released a choked, watery chuckle that sounded as though it tore from her throat. "She had no idea, the trouble she was signing up for, when you guys brought her home." She thought of her dog.

She had come to her small and skinny, its coat dull and ragged. She was a dog of undeterminable origins, though her mother Lexa had argued robustly that there was Australian Cattle dog in her. She cast her glance to the now rusty jungle gym, where she had fallen once, when she and Blue had ran away together in the bright spring morning. Instinctively, the palm of her hand drifted down to the scar on her left kneecap, where she had scraped it, only for Blue to pad over, licking the wound and the tears that had leaked from between pained green eyes.

She saw the bramble bush where in her adolescence she had kissed her first boyfriend under the shade of its branches, her loyal companion resting meters away. Almost painfully, she thought of the times she had left her in favor of parties, boys, distractions, and the guilt searing in her chest was too much.

She cast her gaze to the wood around her; the green grass underfoot, the dirt path only lengths away, the calm surface of the lake suddenly much more enticing than her mother’s sympathy.

Clarke saw those green eyes, eyes that were eerily similar to her, eyes that she had missed sorely. She saw those eyes, so alike, yet different. Her daughter's eyes were still innocent, pure. She remembered the crinkles at the side of mischievous green orbs when she had cracked a joke, or was feeling particularly proud of her daughter. Even now, the woman missed the presence of her strong arms looped over her shoulders as they had sat many times on this bench, of her booming laugh and the look that was reserved only for her.

"I miss her."

"I miss her too." Clarke wrapped an arm around her daughter's shoulders, and in that instant, both women knew they were talking about a different her. But the pretense was a comfort; perhaps the words that had not been said before were better left spoken now. "She was a good dog."

"The best dog." Her daughter agreed. She rested her head on her mother's shoulder, and together, they surveyed the vast expanse of water before them. Overhead, the stars began to dot the sky, and as Clarke redirected her gaze upwards, she smiled.

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